ARC Review: The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker

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An action-packed and suspenseful sequel to The Witch Hunter, perfect for fans of Graceling and the Grisha Trilogy.

“I think, in time, you’ll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory.”

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He’s readying for a war against those who would resist his rule–namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth’s strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she’ll go to save those she loves.

review

3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

+++Note that this is a little on the mature side of YA due to graphic violence and sexual situations

Last year when I got my ARC of The Witch Hunter, I didn’t know what to expect. I opened the book and I couldn’t put it down. It was one of my favorite books of 2015. I loved the violence, the fierce way Elizabeth fought and took risks, the heartbreaking sacrifices she made, and the twists that stopped your heart and made you hold your breath. Unfortunately, The King Slayer did not have the same magical, mesmerizing quality as book 1. 

PROS:

  • The action scenes were gory and violent. Exactly the right amount of graphic and uncertainty to keep you on edge. That final battle scene, OMG terrifying and brutal and heartbreaking. Some parts will make you wince, others will tear you open and laugh at your emotions. 
  • Elizabeth is struggling to find her strength after the events of book 1. She doesn’t know who she is anymore or what she has to offer Harrow. Elizabeth fights to find  out how to be the old Elizabeth when everything was taken from her. Healing from her wounds and desperate to destroy Blackwell, Elizabeth is vulnerable, but fierce and determined to protect those she loves even at the cost of her own life. This emotional, open side of Elizabeth adds a depth to her character that is even more expansive that book 1. This Elizabeth is all the more powerful and courageous because of her scars and insecurities. 
  • Blackwell is as grotesque and monstrous as ever. His lack of regard for human life, the way he just takes and takes, the dark magic, the torture, the agony, it’s all so much. Dangerously evil. 
  • That final twist. Stab me in the heart why don’t you? Harsh. 

CONS:

  • From the first page is was like being hit with a brick. The information flies at you and there’s hardly any summary from the last book to remind the reader what happened. Maybe it is my fault for not rereading beforehand (anyone who is reading this on the blog knows I read hundreds of books a year) but for the life of me some of these characters, I had no clue who they were and it made the complicated relationships between them hard to process. I felt panicked and kept scrambling to figure out what was going on and why it was important. It took a chapter or two for me to feel more settled into the story. 
  • The in-between sections dragged a lot. The moments between action were a whole lot of angst and drama, but surprisingly slow. Nothing really happened. Sure, they were building a camp and readying for a battle, and yet, nothing was ever really exciting except for the first sparring scene. 
  • Friendships and romance were less of a focus than in book one and it felt a little lacking because of it. The relationship between Fifer and Elizabeth, her interactions with most of the characters in the first book apart from Schuyler were limited. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Keep reading, 

Jordan

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2015 Top Reads

2015 has been a whirlwind of new books and author friends. It’s been a crazy ride that has culminated in my attendance at Utopia 2016 and potential publication.. we’ll see 😉

Happy New Year readers, this blog wouldn’t be anything without all of your kind words and support!

And now…

Top 15 Books of 2015

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Happy reading and here’s to an even better reading year next year!

Jordan

ARC Review: The Witch Hunter-Virginia Boecker

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Release Date: June 2, 2015

cooltext1889161239 copyThe magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little Brown Books for Young Readers.

You know that magical, exhilarating feeling when you find a book that you’ve been searching for, that giddy happiness that finally, FINALLY, someone answered your bookish prayers? The Witch Hunter was that book for me. Full of quirky characters, passion, magic, and twists that have you speeding through pages, The Witch Hunter is a must read. 

PROS:

  • The story from the very first page is gripping and borderline addictive, you want to know more and as the twists, turns, and danger mounts, the nail-biting certainty of an unhappy ending swells. Nothing is predictable, each turn is a surprise and I genuinely feared for Elizabeth. In a couple of pages, I was so invested in Elizabeth that anything that happened to her felt like a personal attack. 
  • The combination of what reads like historical fiction, Arthurian legend, and good old-fashioned fantasy takes you to another world. The witch burnings, the torture methods, everything is graphic and boldly written. Every ounce of carnage and pain is there full-frontal and piercing. I got lost in this world of magical creatures, BA hunters, and sadistic politicians. You’ll never feel comfortable trusting the majority of the characters because everything is uncertain and things can go from bad to worse with little notice. This is the kind of story that keeps you on your toes. 
  • Elizabeth is a relatable heroine. She never claims to be invincible. She has real fears that are heartbreaking and potent. She’s terrified of ending up alone and after the trauma of her childhood it’s like a punch straight to the heart. Elizabeth is a fiery little thing when she’s riled up. She’s bold, courageous and believes what she does is righteous. Sometimes she’s puzzled and conflicted, she struggles to sort through her feelings and her guilt is intense. Crafty, determined, and wily, Elizabeth is the kind of heroine I can get behind.
  • Secondary characters are charming, hilarious, and just as loveable as Elizabeth. Fifer is saucy, honest, the kind of blunt that is like a slap in the face but comical at the same time. Fifer’s love interest is complex, her short-fuse makes for constant entertainment and more than anything, her heart will win you over. Schuyler is a flirty, playful revenant. He’s witty, sexy, and dangerous, everything you’d want in a paranormal sidekick. George is a drunken fool but insanely lovable. John. Holy hotness. Calculating, practical, intense, not only is he gorgeous but his compassion makes him 10x more attractive.
  • John and Elizabeth are adorable. They’re shy and uncertain. It’s uplifting and wonderful watching their relationship grow. 
  • Blackwell is a wicked mastermind. The sheer level of plotting and evil plans is intricate and it’s hard to guess the endgame.
  • I loved the inclusion of several paranormal creatures, folk beliefs, herb uses, and reference to the Green Knight.

CONS:

  • Elizabeth’s attraction to Caleb was more telling than showing. The emotional build up wasn’t there. While Caleb and Elizabeth do have a past and those memories are revisited throughout the story, the chemistry is absent, despite what Elizabeth maintains. The final moments with Caleb were a bit of a letdown. I expected more emotion, more tears. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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